Friday, December 12, 2008

35 A Petition To the Bicycle Industry On Safety Of Products


Spread the word!


Here's my petition :


While others extoll the bike industry and the good products that have come from them, I want to pitch in with my own opinions on the other half of the products. 

I have prompted myself to write this as a result of all the terrible failures on bicycles and related components I have been seeing over the past 3 years. The nasty injuries associated with them have turned my stomach upside down. Some of these failures are almost laughable, inspite of how dangerous they look; like the rim failure I mentioned just a couple of days back. I was literally laughing, and jokes were going around on the web for its new use! I don't want to be an alarmist, but I don't think I'm the first.





LIGHT, LIGHTER, LIGHTNESS.....breaak!

The general outcry nowadays is for lighter, aesthetically pleasing products in cycling. I think in the early days, this was more prominent with the racing scene but now the push for svelter, lighter products seems to have gripped everyday, mundane mainstream cycling. Lighter tubes, tires, bolts, cables, bags, saddles, shoes, jerseys, shorts, bottle cages...and the very thing that protects your head - helmets. I guess you can lose business and money by not following the trends, but you can follow trends while keeping best practices in mind too.

I feel we're losing logic and sight of reality by going to extreme lengths to lighten every single thing out there while ignoring structural stability. Machining away the last bit of material to lower the weight of the item by 10 grams? Please. That last bit of material might have been the last thing on earth that would have given the product sufficient strength to survive the everyday rigors of cycling. 



CYCLING HAS ITS DANGERS

Cycling as it is, is risky activity. This is inherent in the sport. Riders are :

a) Out in the elements, largely unshielded from the forces of nature. Too much sun, wind, pollutants or rain showers can make it a bad day for anyone.

b) Riding with traffic which are largely huge pieces of machinery weighing in tons. Defensive riding simply won't cut it now, as motorists these days are handing a very cold shoulder to cyclists out on the road. Drunk driving is becoming a huge problem, and sadly cyclists have to pay the huge price in a collision.

c) And if you're talking about mountain or downhill biking, then the risks associated with riding on the offroad terrain come into consideration. Its not uncommon for these riders to bunnyhop over big/sharp obstacles and even jump their bikes several feet in the air.

Now if you're telling me that as a company, you'll go ahead and make my life more dangerous by producing faulty, flimsy products to use in the first place, I simply have to stand up and fight for my rights. I take it that others will agree with me.



FALSE MARKETING

It is incredible how companies will go to great lengths to market these flimsy products downstream, by brainwashing the customer using words like DURABLE, LIGHT BUT STRONG, STIFF BUT COMPLIANT and yada yada, when they really aren't. Sometimes, junk science also crawls in and takes its pitch and the end result is a fairly attractive wrapping for an ugly present.



INJURIES

Injuries that are associated with cycling are nothing short of troublesome. The order of the day has been broken collarbones, wrists, knees, ribs, necks, and deep and bad bruises that take days and months to heal. They also make you look like a casualty of war. I like to be healthy, but I don't want to look like a clown in the process. I'd also like to keep my life so that my family can be with me again when I return home with my bike. Damn, is asking for my life a little too much? Am I overstepping here?

An example of facial injury as a result of handlebar failure. 




CONSEQUENCES FOR A BUSINESS

Failures, and product defects aren't good for any company. You make all that investment to establish yourselves and now you blow all that away with a tiny mistake which could be a huge one, since life and money are often involved in the equation. However good your reputation will be, it takes only one bad thing ... and customers generally don't forget when shit happens. It lingers. And nowadays, with web 2.0 or 3.0 or whatever.. that shit will be pasted all over the internet. Want to know how good a product, say x is, before you purchase it? Just Google with the search term "x product sucks", and see what people are saying. 

And if you're in China or other Asian countries, it pays to look up a list of terrible products that have come out of your country including lead paint, adultrated food items etc. If I found my food messed around with, hell I'd beat the crap out of whoever was responsible.

Personally, I work in the oil and gas industry and we work with a number of clients who specifically tell us things like 'we don't want anything from China or India. Period'!! I think that this is  turning out to be the emerging trend across many industries as there is really a lot of bad press and many disappointed people in the wake.



BUSINESS PRACTICES

I'm also often confused by a couple of things. One is company behavior regarding bad designs. Think of it this way. It seems like companies are deliberately putting bad products out there, wait until some dissatisfaction arises from the customer's side, and then make some more money by making the improved version of it. Why couldn't they get things right the first time? Well, if the product was good the first time, I guess they wouldn't flick money from your wallet over improvements.

The other is that in keeping with the trend to introduce new products for the next year, the onslaught of the new incoming designs kill some of the favorable and proven products in the old line. Suddenly, those disappear from the market and you have a new line of less durable and expensive products. This is happening so rapidly, that essentially next year's products are appearing in the market around August or September of the previous year. Why can't companies use some form of feedback, and keep the proven products still in their line? Do you really have to rout out everything old to make your products look new for the next year?

Another disturbing trend is the use of exotic materials when they aren't even understood properly. A lot of the failures in carbon fiber happened largely because designers and manufacturers didn't understand its properties and the way it will behave in the end product, not just by itself.

I guess my point is, just to make a few more bucks to make things marginally lighter, the entailing risks are not emphasized. Suddenly, in the end, people get hurt or injured and you get lawsuits and counterlawsuits and what not and suffice to say, the situation is a complete mess. The risk of someone not doing business with you as a result is even a bigger embarrasment.



SOLUTIONS?


1. GOOD DESIGN AND TESTING : I cannot emphasize this enough. Good design is at the crux of good, ethical engineering practice.  Good design comes out of good ideas, and good concepts and it adheres to engineering ethics. It doesn't come overnight. It looks good on paper, and it works in real as well. Good design establishes a clearly defined NEED, and makes products for that application. Make it known to the end user that if he or she uses this product outside its application scope, risks are present and you may or may not partake in that risk. And as for testing, if you spot something through thorough and extended testing, chances are you can attend to correcting it before its too late. Before its too late, and an 8 year old kid falls and breaks his neck. Or before a baby boomer pushing his 60's crashes and falls and finds out he can't plan to retire so soon! 

2. STANDARDS : I'm ever so confused about this one. Who're the standards authorities who govern the design of cycling products? Is there one in every country? Do you understand their standards? Do you take exceptions to their standards? And if so, how risky to an end user is your decision to take exceptions?

3. QUALITY : Get your act together on quality. See who you do business with. Who are your suppliers? Who are their suppliers? What are their business practices? Did you take a tour at their plant? Do you know how they treat their employees? Understand the cost of poor quality. They are unnecessary engineering changes, scrap and rework, extra setups, longer cycle times, warranty claims, lawsuits, lost sales, lost credibility and the list goes on. This is serious for your business.

4. PREACH WITH INTEGRITY : Get your marketing straight. Make it say whats right. Who're the guys doing this marketing stuff in the first place? Do they know the product? Do they understand its intended use? Do they know who the audience is? In other words, do they know who they're fooling? 

5. FEEDBACK : I don't know if there's enough of this element. Get people's honest opinions on a product. Make it open and transparent to others instead of twisting it to your own liking and displaying it like a false trophy on your website. Get a grip on what were the most liked products and replicate good designs or keep them in the market. 

6. APPLY NEW TECHNOLOGY WITH CAUTION : This is a tricky subject and I'm not even sure how to approach it. What I would say is that, if a new material or new design has not been understood properly, or if its still a half baked cookie in some University research laboratory or a Science Journal entry, please spare the health of the public and some of your own personal embarrasment by falling back, and doing some more extended research before licensing and releasing it to market. Unobtainium alloy X shouldn't make my life unobtainable to me if its going to crumple like a beer can the moment I try to use it.

7. RECALL FAILURES AND DEFECTS IMMEDIATELY : Inspite of all the above I have mentioned, there will be failures out on the field. I understand that. Hey, I'm not saying anything can last forever. But if someone out there is genuinely calling out a defect or a premature failure long before the lifetime limit of the product, swallow your pride and call in that particular product and all similar designs for an investigation. STOP the flow of these products to the market. The longer these dangerous products are out there, the longer the public at large is at risk. Once you get it in, do a root cause analysis (RCA) of the problem and aim to tackle it. Often, its process inefficiencies in the upstream that lead to defective products down the line.

8. A WORD TO CYCLISTS : Dear cyclists, stop abusing your equipment for something it wasn't made for. No point in sitting and crying over something thats your own fault. Be responsible users, keeping in mind your own safety and that of the people you ride or race with, since cycling is often a group activity as well. Bad things will happen to you if you use your equipment beyond its design limits.


As a conclusion to this post, allow me to reiterate. Cycling has inherent risks associated with it, as any experienced cyclist would tell you. But I think we can survive that, even fight it. All we don't want are faulty, defective products on top of all this to supplement the D in Dangerous. Thank you very much.

Moreoever, all this nonsense is not even sending the right idea to newcomers to cycling, who already may have an idea of bad things happening to cyclists. So before advocating safe cycling, check to make sure if the very products you sell are safe to use.

Its simple. Keep bad things from happening from your end or don't do business at all. 

Lets all hope that for 2009 and the years to come, we don't hear of people getting unnecessarily hurt or injured, however light it may be, from the use of defective cycling products.



UPDATE, 12/19/2008 :

I found a great intro video on Poka Yoke, a quality term used for mistake proofing in industry processes. You can read more about it here.



35 comments:

  1. jamesmallon6:22 PM

    I appreciate the writings on failure, as well as your other post. Failure is why I won't buy a carbon bike, and am taking the carbon fork off my steel Lemond. I am not racing, I prefer the better ride of steel, and like a stronger material which fails less dramatically! Nice it's cheaper, too.

    A question, because I ride in Canadian winters: is carbon fibre resin cold-weakened? I know that plastic snaps in the winter...

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  2. Anonymous6:35 PM

    Blunty:

    You are absolutely incorrect. Cyling is not a risky activity.

    It simply isn't.

    People need to take responsability for their actions and their products.

    That rim failed 'cause it was used for something stupid. So it broke.

    Smart = Safe
    Ride Smart = Ride Safe

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  3. Anonymous8:37 PM

    With regards to testing.
    It actually comes down to the particular country the product is shipped to, but here are just a few -

    CSPC
    JIS
    CEN
    DIN
    DIN+
    EN

    The laws are out there, and any brand with any size typically selling internationally has testing that meets of exceeds these tests.

    - Ryan

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  4. Ryan,

    That is a big list. I don't know about the rest of them, but I know that the CSPC is not a Standards authority. They merely call out problems, and issues with consumer products after they happen. As far as regulations are concerned, the regulations they have issued for bicycles are comical and old as me.

    What I'm saying is that considering the extreme activities associated with cycling, its time a group of industry insiders came together and formed specific guidelines by which bicyles and components must be made for specific uses such as racing, not so much as restricting variety in design but making that design safe for intended use. I call for the making of a bicycle specific authority. When bikes are made, they are made to these standards laid by the authority and you can tell its a solid product right away. So far, I have not seen anything like this, and its simply the reputation of a brand name, and the country that its made in, thats largely speaking for quality. I don't think thats fair to consumers since companies can overcharge them based on brand name and perceived quality when there could be better alternatives for their budget.

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  5. thecycleguy11:34 PM

    These are good viewpoints and very good questions. Thank you very much for your boldness.

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  6. Anonymous11:49 PM

    I have two things to say. One is the trend I'm observing in helmets. I have been studying their behaviors in collisions and perhaps 50% cases, they didn't fail the way they were originally designed to.

    Second, as you mentioned, is the general thinning of material in wheel rims, chains, transmission sprockets and chainrings. Durability and safety is a big issue the more you thin something out. These are important issues because thousands of dollars are tied in with the purchase of products such as these. Today's 4 or 5 grand will buy you a product that lasts maybe 2 years, often less on defect. It wasn't the same back in the golden days of cycling.

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  7. Ron , while I agree that some injuries are serious I would check my facts to see their rates of occurance.

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  8. James Mallon : Thats a good question. Most epoxies are pretty stable at a wide range of temperatures. But I really haven't studied cases where carbon is molded to say aluminum parts, where Al shrinks or expands on temperature change due to coefficient of thermal expansion. Craig Calfee often thinks titanium is a better choice as a metal bonding for carbon fiber due to low TE.

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  9. Hey Ron
    An excellent piece - well written.
    I agree with all the points made.

    My Observations from europe are: There seems to be huge demands and expectations amongst US consumers to 'get it all', top performance AND bargain prices. Whilst not universal, I am amazed that the US, with its high per capita income seems one of THE most price conscious countries. Other countries seem to accept the general rule that 'you get what you pay for'. But I am constantly amazed from cycling forums how central the 'bargain hunt' appears to be amongst american cyclists and public.

    Applied to bicycles and the demands to be latest, lightest, fastest, cheapest, leads to exactly the situation you warn about - something HAS to give, and that usually means margins of safety.

    So a fix is in the hands of the consumer - dont buy crap and expect to pay for quality.

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  10. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Ron - Here is a link the the CPSC Bicycle Compliance Test Manual:
    http://www.cpsc.gov/businfo/testbicycle.pdf

    Why don't you start with that, and then get off your ass and educate yourself by looking up all the other regulatory testing standards I just told you about.
    Oh, and I actually forgot about the UCI who in fact actually has specific testing requirements for wheels.

    Then, I would highly suggest you give SRAM, TREK, FOX Racing Shox, or any major brand in the US a call and ask them about their Quality System.
    I am sure many of them would be nice enough to give you some basic info.

    Oh, and please stop quoting Craig Calfee as a valid source of composite engineering because he is not a composite engineer, or any other kind of engineer.
    There are plenty of really good composite engineers in the bicycle industry and I am sure many of them would be happy to answer your questions.

    Then I would suggest you go and ponder the word Integrity and the certain part of that definition as to "Quality characterized by honesty, reliability, and fairness."
    Look inward on that and see if you actually held to a high level of integrity with this post.

    Quite simply, your post has a huge number of flaws in it primarily due to a massive lack of knowledge with regards to what you are talking about.
    You are a Mechanical Engineer!
    I actually expect more form someone with your background then this trash you've most recently posted.

    Oh, and you work in the oil and gas industry, huh?
    You know, from your position in that particular industry, I wouldn't be going around and pointing a lot of fingers regarding things like -
    FALSE MARKETING
    CONSEQUENCES FOR A BUSINESS
    BUSINESS PRACTICES
    STANDARDS
    Understand the cost of poor quality.
    PREACH WITH INTEGRITY, ect . . .

    Lastly, I just want to say that I do apologize for my tone in this comment, but your post is so extremely wrong that it really got under my skin.
    While I will agree that there are some shady companies out there, just like in any industry, the vast majority of them are putting a huge amount of effort into the specific areas you are stating they are not.

    I would respectfully ask you to build up your knowledge about the areas you are frustrated with and not to paint this issue with such a broad brush.

    Thank you,
    - Ryan

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  11. Anonymous1:11 PM

    Wow. Saying like it is!

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  12. Ryan,

    Thanks for your comments again. Not sure where its really pricking you but let me tell you one thing about the CPSC. Those guys working there do a great job but they have a small staff size and are not able to investigate all complaints they receive. More importantly, they do not have the legal authority to test a product for safety BEFORE its sold to consumers. They also do not have jurisdiction over many other things like tires, for example.

    Moreover, the guidelines the safety standard used was for the Hazardous Substances Act...which among other things regulated items and toys used by children! Their own understanding of nighttime biking situations are insufficient to adequately protect cyclists. Read these articles from J. Forestor for some understanding.

    Essentially I'm not calling for integrity or commitment from testing agencies. Responsibility should come from the manufacturers themselves. So you aren't getting the gist of what I'm fighting for.

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  13. Anonymous12:37 PM

    Ron,

    The CPSC is a department of the US government.
    I didn't say the testing methodology, or the enforcement of it was super great. I just said the system is there and I also then took the time to provide you a link to the actual testing methodology for bicycles.
    If you do not like their testing methodology that every bicycle sold in the US is required to meet, perhaps you should call your congressmen?

    In fact, it is the testing regulations of Europe that has required product to be immensely stronger and more resistant to Fatigue, Impact, Corrosion, ect . . . in the last few years and while I am also disappointed that our own CPSC has not kept pace with the requirements in Europe, we are still receiving the benefits on the vast majority of bicycle products sold here in the US simply due to fact that most companies are manufacturing and selling with a global perspective in mind.

    As I already said, please take the time and educate yourself on the standards bicycle companies need to adhere to, then simply give a few of the larger ones a call and ask them about their Quality System so you can learn a little more about the current status of things.

    After you do all that, I honestly believe that your opinion will change, but if you are going to willingly maintain your ignorance on a topic you have such a passionate opinion about then you are not adhering to the level of integrity you are expecting everyone else to live up to.
    Please stop simply pointing fingers and start getting constructive.
    - Ryan

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  14. My viewpoints are directed at everyone in the bike business world over. Its a message. Its a reminder. I did not point fingers at any company in particular. I also don't feel my criticism has been destructive; there are far more people seriously injured due to the negligence from the people who make/assemble this stuff. I would love to delve a little deeper into the root causes of such happenings, but then that should be on the top list of someone else's priorities. Thanks for reading Ryan.

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. Let's look at this from another perspective: while you did mention that cyclists have a responsibility to use the equipment for its intended purposes/applications, that point is buried at the bottom of the diatribe...

    Look, a company can test their products all they want, but a good bit of the responsibility MUST fall on the shoulders of the end user. A lightweight component that may work flawlessly (and safely) for a 140 lb. rider CANNOT be expected to do the same for a 220 lb. rider! Many companies publish weight/use limits on their exotic components (albeit quietly -- this isn't broadcasted as loudly as it should be)...nevertheless, anyone with a credit card can buy said product and do whatever the hell they want with it.

    So, in short: bicycle companies -- please keep testing and evaluating your products...make them as safe as you can and still perform the way they need to. Consumers -- BE REALISTIC. If you're pushing three bills, do you REALLY think an ultralight handlebar or seatpost or gossamer carbon frame is the best idea for you? And, if you choose to ignore weight and use guidelines, suck it up and move on. The failure of your precious, high-dollar component is a symptom of your vanity and ignorance, not the fault of the company who sold you that component.

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  17. Carbon bar/stem on a cross bike? You can't save people from themselves!

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  18. The unsupported generalities in this post and your defending comments upset me, because they run contrary to my intuition:

    Drunk driving is becoming a huge problem

    there are far more people seriously injured due to the negligence from the people who make/assemble this stuff

    Are you sure about that? The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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  19. I'm an engineer, and I love data. Sometimes though, to make a point, I dont have have to get nitbits of info from all over the place. I wish I had that kind of time.

    So are you saying drunk driving aren't killing cyclists? Or drunk driving isn't a huge problem at all? You know what I feel about it? Its the bane of the motorized culture we live in. Its absolutely terrible.

    I can personally attest to the increasing number of "memorial" rides because a cyclist was killed in such a collision.

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  20. "Defensive riding won't cut it now"

    "Drunk driving is becoming a huge problem, "

    I hate drunk drivers as much as the next guy, but I take issue with the trends you are implying here.

    I used checked google to see if drunk driving was getting worse and it appears not to be:

    "The number of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes has declined 38 percent since 1982, going from 21,113 in 1982 to 12,998 in 2007. There were 8,100 fewer drunk-driving fatalities in 2007 than in 1982"
    http://www.alcoholstats.com/page.aspx?id=136

    I don't want to offend you, but instead of "personally attesting" to the "increasing number of memorial rides," why not try to find some actual numbers? Or at least state what you have "personally attested" -- you clearly are convinced of by your own (internal) argument, why not share it?

    Bad stuff happens. Parts failing catastrophically happens. But is it really a significant problem? Are most carbon products unsafe? This is the question you begging -- you assume that everyone just knows bike parts are breaking waaay more often now and it's a big problem.

    And yet, the only evidence of this huge problem, in the entire article, is that some guy ran carbon bars on a cross bike, and they broke.

    Your rant is good, but I have no faith in your supporting assumption(s), which makes the point of the rant more easily discounted.

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  21. Colin R :

    When I write a post, I write it for the world.

    I'm not just targetting U.S of A. Perhaps you're pulling this information for the States. Get real. People just don't cycle here. Drinking is universal. Also, for most of the data like these, statistical samples are pretty small that you cannot see a definite pattern from year to year. In other third world countries, I would imagine the high rate of vehicle-cyclist collisions to be one of the prime discouraging factors for people from riding their bikes. And since there's always safety in numbers, the lesser number of cyclists could further promote the death of cycling.

    In the U.S, standards are pretty high and advocacy is up there that even if drunk driving exists, the number of cyclists on the road keep climbing. Which is a good thing I believe.

    Yet, drunk driving exists and thats the fact. It depends on a lot of factors. Bad economic times, ban of cigarettes, low oil prices, big holiday seasons, lax laws...

    Bottomline : Drunk driving is increasing traffic fatalities worldwide. Thats why its a huge problem. Not just because it kills cyclists, it actually discourages new cyclists as well.

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  22. READ :


    "A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank finds that traffic fatalities, including those caused by alcohol, are a serious world health problem that is often overlooked, the Washington Post reported April 7.
    One in every 50 deaths worldwide is associated with road accidents, the study found, and traffic crashes are second only to childhood infections and AIDS as a killer of people between the ages of 5 and 30.

    Each year, 1.2 million drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians are killed in traffic crashes. By 2020, traffic deaths are expected to increase by 80 percent as hundreds of millions of cars are added to the roads.

    "It is already huge, but if nothing happens it is expected to rise," said Etienne Krug, director of WHO's department of injuries and violence prevention.

    Among the recommendations in the 217-page report are measures for developing countries, such as India, China, and southeast Asia. They include stricter enforcement of drunk-driving laws, better road designs, increased use of seatbelts, and improved design and inspection of vehicles. "


    From DUI.COM

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  23. Ok. So what to carbon bars have to do with DUI-related fatalities in developing countries, exactly?

    I had assumed that you were talking about the first world in your post because lightweight bike components are generally purchased there.

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  24. Please read the context of my statement before anything. It was a general comment about the incidental risks associated with cycling, wherever that may be. Thanks for reading.

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  25. Rick, Los Angeles3:03 PM

    @ Colin : You're digressing and bringing on a needless discussion by connecting carbon bars with drunk driving related accidents. You should read this post again.

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  26. Colin : The failures I'm calling out is not just for carbon composite parts. Its for anything that goes on a bicycle, whether its made with straw and thatch or Incoloy, whether its used by a kid or a veteran. I was trying to make a point that that whoever is producing bikes or components, whether the intention is to make it lightweight or more beautiful or whatever, has to use proper engineering techniques and assumptions, manufacturing and testing methods to arrive at a fail safe final product in normal circumstances.

    Just as example :

    Here's what bad design in split handlebar extensions did. Click here. This isn't carbon fiber.

    And here's what improper wheel lacing did to an aluminum hub flange. Click here. Infact, failures such as these were even seen on certain Bontragers, as I noted on my blog last year.

    Generally, I'm seeing dangerous trends in the lightweight designs of critical items like helmets, wheels, handlebars and stems where a failure could affect a cyclist seriously. Some more thought has to be put into the proper design of such systems, because it seems to me as if the rat race for market share is pressurizing companies to keep renewing product line sooner and sooner without adequate review of what they have built. Since this market is global, this part could be anywhere in the world tomorrow. Whether a person in the third world has the resources to buy it, that's a secondary issue.

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  27. Thanks for elaborating and providing some failure examples. Like you noted, you're "writing for the world," which means not all of us will have previously read your blog, which is why statements that might seem obvious to you and your loyal readers seem like significant jumps in the logical progression to people like me.

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  28. Anonymous5:24 PM

    I have one issue to point out. In a lot of industry circles, people are use their wealth of experience and skill in designing bikes as opposed to serious engineering techniques like you would find behind a modern aircraft. Do you think a small 5 man facility would have the supercomputers, testing facilities and licenses to state of the art analysis software? Probably not! Hence you have a point in saying that companies should review their sub suppliers because the just buy parts from them and put it on their bikes. Premature failures are a cost to the buyer for basically nothing. So it can be viewed as Infinite Cost, if you will.

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  29. Right. Its called value stream mapping. That should give a basic idea where the faults lie.

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  30. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Carbon fiber racing bikes need to conform to FAA, if there's nothing else that's better. FAA is followed in the F1 industry.

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  31. Anonymous10:57 PM

    Hi Ron,

    Most top bike companies use value stream mapping very effectively.
    These same companies have implemented and use Lean mfg principles every day.

    You should really take the time and contact some of them to get a better understanding of things. I think it would really help out not only you, but everyone who reads this blog to really gain a much better insight on the amount of effort that goes into a bicycle.

    I know for a fact that Trek, SRAM, Fox Racing Shox, The Hayes Group, Cannondale, and many others have been doing this for many years now. I think all of them would be happy to share some of their philosophy in matters like what you are discussing here.
    - Ryan

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  32. Ryan :

    All true. I have to point one thing out. Testing of composite materials are very complex. It is still a maturing field. You cannot achieve success by using the same testing methods for composites that would otherwise use for traditional homogeneous materials, primarily because of their non-intuitive failure modes and anisotropy. I have seen videos of companies doing strictly uniaxial testing to prove some point on quality, however this is not guaranteed to tell the true story of the material in your bicycle. You have pointed out the existence of CSPC, but they are not a certification authority on testing composites. I believe there should be very stringent requirements to be expected from composite bicycle products before they even get out in the market. What would be the agency in the U.S taking care of this, or whether there actually exists one, I do not know. I'm very interested to know what their requirements for certification are, if there exists such an agency.

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  33. Anonymous3:45 PM

    My understanding (from reading a bit on the net, not industry) there exists the "marketing strong" carbon fibre, used in aerospace etc applications. Other industries use the other class of carbon fibre which is much much weaker but marketing doesn't differentiate it in any way from the strong non recycled, still expensive to make one. I read about this subject sometime ago when trying to clean up the related wikipedia articles.

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  34. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Too often, occupational accidents are considered a price of progress in developing countries. but they also occur in advanced nations. Whether we challenge nature at thirteen thousand feet underground in a South African gold mine or thirty-nine thousand feet below sea level exploring for oil in the Gulf of Mexico or at three hundred thousand kilometers in space en route to the moon—accidents can and will happen despite the best safety regulations. Human beings make mistakes, and sometimes equipment fails. Mothers often protest that they were only distracted for an instant when their child disappeared. “Pilot error” is still the leading cause of airplane crashes!

    Industrial, mining and, consumer safety should never be compromised for profits; neither should margins of safety where food and pharmaceutical products are concerned. Aircraft, space vehicle, and automobile manufacturing as well as the production of power tools and equipment are further examples of industrial safety challenges—as are consumer products, from toasters, to contact lenses, to cribs—especially imported cribs. Then there are procedural and processing standards that require constant upgrading in chemical plants and hospitals as technology advances. There are safety concerns regarding the very frontiers of science. These include the safety of our astronauts in space exploration, the safety of people downrange of sites from which military and civilian rockets are launched, and the safety of offshore and land-based drilling for oil and gas, to name but a few.

    You can buy this book now on any of the following websites:

    Strategic Book Publishing Rights Agency: http://sbpra.com/HenryMarkant/

    Amazon Books: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Crises-Their-Solutions-ebook/dp/B00A2WZ4CK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357573018&sr=1-1&keywords=coming+crisis+henry+markant

    Barnes and Noble Books: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/coming-crises-and-their-solutions-henry-markant/1113749628?ean=2940015922875

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  35. Anonymous1:47 PM

    Too often, occupational accidents are considered a price of progress in developing countries. but they also occur in advanced nations. Whether we challenge nature at thirteen thousand feet underground in a South African gold mine or thirty-nine thousand feet below sea level exploring for oil in the Gulf of Mexico or at three hundred thousand kilometers in space en route to the moon—accidents can and will happen despite the best safety regulations. Human beings make mistakes, and sometimes equipment fails. Mothers often protest that they were only distracted for an instant when their child disappeared. “Pilot error” is still the leading cause of airplane crashes!

    Industrial, mining and, consumer safety should never be compromised for profits; neither should margins of safety where food and pharmaceutical products are concerned. Aircraft, space vehicle, and automobile manufacturing as well as the production of power tools and equipment are further examples of industrial safety challenges—as are consumer products, from toasters, to contact lenses, to cribs—especially imported cribs. Then there are procedural and processing standards that require constant upgrading in chemical plants and hospitals as technology advances. There are safety concerns regarding the very frontiers of science. These include the safety of our astronauts in space exploration, the safety of people downrange of sites from which military and civilian rockets are launched, and the safety of offshore and land-based drilling for oil and gas, to name but a few.

    You can buy this book now on any of the following websites:

    Strategic Book Publishing Rights Agency: http://sbpra.com/HenryMarkant/

    Amazon Books: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Crises-Their-Solutions-ebook/dp/B00A2WZ4CK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357573018&sr=1-1&keywords=coming+crisis+henry+markant

    Barnes and Noble Books: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/coming-crises-and-their-solutions-henry-markant/1113749628?ean=2940015922875

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